DECATUR, AL. (WAFF) - The head of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is firing back at critics who say the agency hasn’t been handling the recent issues at 3M in Decatur properly.
Lance LaFleur wrote a multi-page letter to Governor Ivey, blaming the media for what he claims is inaccurate and incomplete reporting, and saying federal agencies are responsible for handling the situation at 3M right now. “(The Environmental Protection Agency) is the agency responsible for the reporting, record-keeping, testing and restrictions of potentially hazardous chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act,” LaFleur wrote. “(The EPA) does not delegate its TSC authority to any state nor is TSCA information shared with the states."
LaFleur also took issue with calling the chemicals released into the Tennessee River “toxic”. He says that the EPA has not yet made a determination about whether or not FBSA and FBSEE meet the criteria to have that label.
In the letter, LaFleur cited two opinion pieces from AL.com which criticized the agency, and posted comments from online articles which he claims constitute a threat to ADEM employees. He pointed to the ADEM website, which he claims has unfiltered information. WAFF 48′s reporting on this story has come straight from ADEM’s and 3M’s own documents and reaction from Decatur city leaders and local environmentalists and residents.
Governor Ivey’s office says she’s committed to getting to the bottom of the situation and that there’s a meeting on the issues set for August 9th.
Our news partners at the Decatur Daily spoke with a local environmentalist who was critical of LaFleur’s concerns. David Whiteside from Tennessee Riverkeeper, said ADEM’s website isn’t useful for anyone who isn’t an expert in environmental issues.
You can read LaFleur’s letter below. Warning: contains graphic language